Idris Elba announced Monday that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
“This morning I tested positive for Covid 19,” the Luther and Marvel actor announced on Twitter. “I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic.”
Elba elaborated further in a video which he shot along with his wife Sabrina Dhowre: “It came back positive, yeah, and it sucks. I’m doing okay. Sabrina hasn’t been tested and she’d doing okay. I didn’t have any symptoms. I got tested because I realized I was exposed to someone who also tested positive. I found out last Friday that they tested positive, I quarantined myself immediately and got a test immediately and got the results back today. It’s serious.”
“Now’s the time to think about social distancing, washing your hands,” he added. “There are people out there who aren’t showing symptoms who could easily spread it. So now’s a real time to be real vigilant about washing your hands and keeping your distance. We told our families, they’re very supportive. We’ve told our colleagues. Transparency is the best thing. If you’re feeling ill or feel like you’re been exposed, do something about it.”
“Look, we live in a divided world right now, we can all feel it, it’s been bullshit,” Elba concluded. “Now’s the time for solidarity. Now’s the time for thinking about each other. There are so many people whose lives have been affected, from people who’ve lost somebody they love to people who don’t even have it and have lost their livelihoods. This is real.”
Elba’s advice to “do something about it” and quickly get a test if you’re possibly infected is a very good idea, but it should be pointed out that testing in the UK and the U.S. is currently lagging behind several other countries grappling with the virus. Potential carriers with coronavirus-like symptoms have taken to social media to point out they’re still being refused testing unless they’ve traveled to certain countries, or have confirmed contact with a positive case. In the U.S., state and local leaders have criticized the Trump administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for delaying testing availability and limiting eligibility.
“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday. “And we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case. We have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response. This is a serious disease. Although the evidence we have suggests that those over 60 are at highest risk, young people, including children, have died.”
Elba’s news comes on the heels of actor Tom Hanks announcing he’s also tested positive along with his wife, Rita Wilson (they’re currently in isolation and say they’re doing well). The actors joins the growing ranks of confirmed cases of the virus, which has at least 179,000 cases worldwide and killed 7,000.
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